Language Assessments - Information for DGSs & GFAs

As Graduate Field Assistants (GFAs) and/or Directors of Graduate Studies (DGSs), you should communicate with students about when and how to schedule a language assessment. The table below lists the current schedule.

We recommend having your students assessed upon arrival and/or during their first semester at Cornell to determine their eligibility to teach as a TA.

Assessment calendar | Scheduling an appointment | Assessment Results | Reassessments | Missed appointments

Who needs to participate in a language assessment?

Review the Graduate School's information on English Language Proficiency Requirements for detailed information on who should participate in a language assessment. This policy does not apply to DACA students.

  • Language assessments are conducted throughout the year (calendar of upcoming dates).
  • Students who have earned a TOEFL iBT speaking score of 27 or higher or an IELTS speaking score of 8.0 or higher are exempt from this requirement.
  • More information on the English language proficiency requirements can be found on the Graduate School's website.

Assessment Calendar

Before scheduling an appointment, please read the following: 

  • As departments determine teaching assistantship assignments, we encourage students to check with their GFA before making an appointment to determine whether they need to be assessed (language assessment requirements) and, if so, when they need an assessment
  • Students who have earned a TOEFL iBT speaking score of 27 or higher or an IELTS speaking score of 8.0 or higher are exempt from this requirement
  • Students may schedule an assessment as soon as they have a Cornell University NetID
  • Students may complete an assessment prior to arrival or during their first semester at Cornell
  • Assessments take approximately 30 minutes and are conducted online using Zoom
  • If students need to cancel their assessment, we cannot guarantee that there will be a time slot open for a future assessment. We strongly encourage students to speak with their GFA before canceling their appointment. 

Spring Assessment Dates (2024)

Month Day
February - March
  • Friday, February 2, 2024
  • Friday, February 23, 2024
  • Friday, March 8, 2024
April - May
  • Friday, April 26. 2024
  • Friday, May 10, 2024
  • Wednesday, May 15, 2024
  • Friday, May 17, 2024
  • Monday, May 20, 2024
  • Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Time: Assessments take approximately 30 minutes and may be scheduled on the half-hour (e.g., 10:00, 10:30).

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Scheduling an Assessment Appointment

As a DGS or GFA, please email your students and invite them to sign up for a language assessment.

Please review the information on how to schedule an assessment and share the link with your students.

Suggested Language for Inviting Students to Sign Up for a Language Assessment

Please include the text below when you email students who have not been assessed.

Note: Please email the ITAP team to ask about reassessments before asking a student to schedule for these slots as they are intended for initial assessments.

How to Sign Up for Your Language Assessment

  1. Sign up for an appointment 
    1. Language assessments are conducted throughout the year.
    2. If you have already been assessed, please contact ITAP to determine eligibility for reassessment prior to signing up
  2. Fill out the language assessment application form
    • You will be asked to provide a list of topics when you register for the assessment (the assessor will select from this list for the first part of the assessment)
  3. Read through our student information page to learn more about: 
    1. questions about making an appointment
    2. general information about the assessment
    3. preparing for your assessment
    4. getting your assessment results 

To be certain your students have scheduled an appointment, ask them to send you their confirmation email. If they cannot find this email, it may be in their junk mail or spam folder. If you have any questions, please contact the ITAP team.

Scheduling Assessments for Your Students

You may wish to schedule assessments for your students, and you are welcome to do so.

Information you will need to schedule an assessment on behalf of a student:

  • Your student’s full name
  • Time zone
  • Net ID
  • Whether they can use Microsoft Teams (some countries restrict access to Teams)
  • Whether a department member will join them for the meeting (and if so, the department member’s first and last name)

Since some students may not be in Ithaca, morning slots should be saved for those students who are in time zones 12 or 13 hours away. Once you schedule an assessment for a student, they will receive their appointment information and can manage it.

Department Observers

Department members are always welcome to join their students as observers of the language assessment. If a department member wishes to observe, have the student forward the reminder email they receive the day before their appointment. The reminder email will contain their Zoom link.

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Assessment Results

The ITAP team will notify you of your students' result within two days of their assessment via email. You should share the results with your students.

The assessment is evaluated by comparing the student's language sample with the criteria described in the ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines - Speaking (Revised 2012). The minimum oral English proficiency level established by the Office of the Provost for teaching as a TA at Cornell is Advanced Low (Some departments require Advanced Mid).

The ACTFL has 5 levels of proficiency: novice, intermediate, advanced, superior, and distinguished. The lower levels each have 3 sub-levels: low, mid, and high. For more information on the levels and criteria for each one, please see the ACTFL proficiency guidelines.

For more information on interpreting assessment results, please see Understanding your language assessment results.

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Students who are not in an ITAP course are eligible for a reassessment once every 12 months. Eligibility is displayed on the ITAP Dashboard for GFAs. If you have a question about accessing the dashboard or a student's eligibility, please do not hesitate to email us for assistance.

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Missed Appointments

Please remind your student of their assessment time. If they miss their appointment, try to reschedule them during the current assessment period or contact the ITAP team.

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